EAST AURORA, N.Y. — It was a startling scene Monday night, as a train was derailed in the Village of East Aurora, causing 41 homes to be evacuated.
Three days later, on Thursday, the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, Inc. (BPRR) announced they have reopened the track to freight service.
“We are grateful that there were no injuries and that damage to non-railroad property was limited to a park fence,” said BPRR President Len Wagner.
BPRR said in a statement Thursday that they are currently investigating the derailment with government agencies to determine the cause, "including the possibility of vandalism."
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) were on scene in East Aurora the morning after the train derailed, according to BPRR.
The derailment, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. Monday, involved a train that consisted of 3 locomotives, 32 railcars containing goods, and 66 empty railcars.
In total, the locomotives, 2 of the loaded railcars, and 15 empty railcars were impacted by the derailment.
East Aurora Police decided to evacuate residents from their homes as a precaution, but later deemed it safe for them to return. Both Police and BPRR say that diesel fuel was spilled from the lead locomotive engine.
The fuel is currently being contained and cleaned up with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
BPRR estimates that it will take two weeks to remove and scrap two railcars that were badly damaged and cannot be returned to service; one was a loaded lumber car and one was an empty salt-hopper car.
"The Buffalo & Pittsburgh has an outstanding safety record going back decades, based on the strong shared belief of BPRR employees that all injuries and derailments are preventable. The results of the investigations of this incident will be used to make us even safer going forward,” Wagner said.